One of the more unorthodox – and most appealing – characteristics on FUNERAL CAR, the first full-length from Portland’s DESERT CITY SOUNDTRACK, is the prominence of piano and drums…the dark, rich chords bursting and fading against cymbal washes that slowly dissipate, swaying from one speaker to the next. But these heady, winding arrangements don’t take the easy way out. The band patiently weaves through dips and turns, all the while maintaining an unexpected smoothness. This more restrained approach to complex song structure belies the maturity of a band willing to underscore drama with subtlety, achieving a pressurizing level of gravity without, for the most part, ever breaking out of mid-tempo gear.
The production value strikes a deft balance between intimacy and polish, technicality and intuition. The album is replete with mourning and ideas of death in many forms, not the least of which is the irreparable decomposition of romance and the all-encompassing woe that ensues. Juxtaposed with lush, atmospheric, ear pleasing music, the somber overtone and heavy lyrical content become not only graceful, but illuminating. FUNERAL CAR is an awe-inspiring, dark collection of post-hardcore brilliance.
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